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Best of Japan cruise Spectrum Of The Seas October 1 - 8 2019 , a new experience.

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Day 1 Shanghai  (the short version as its 2 am here , but at least I got the VPN up).

We tried to get out of the hotel at 9 am but it took us more time (strange , never in the past) at 9:40 we were inside the taxi after verifying the address several time , you must have it written in Chinese. the ride was going OK considering it was very windy , up until the turn to the port were it started to be very slow , we were stuck 20 minutes in traffic bur still arrived around 10:25. (20 $ ride). The rest is more and less like any other port , you give your luggage outside (after they verify you have the tag on) and you go to security , there are lines for Platinum + and all the  rest  , security was fast , from there you have line to the check in , the lines now split into Platinum+ and international travelers. Check it was about 10 minutes as you need to feel the Japanese landing card. The next station is the immigration , there was small lines so it took about 15 minutes, last station is the passport collection were they take the passport of all passengers until the last day. We boarded around 11 , our first station was our deck just to be on the safe side , what do you know the doors on one side were opened so we did our long way to our cabin , I thought its another different comparing to other cruises, later we found out the doors were opened by mistake but we already went to the cabin and left our carry on there (after asking the cabin attended) , I also thought its a good time to take pictures of other cabins 🙂   

Our cabin is an aft Junior suite with big balcony , the cabin looks smaller comparing to other JS we stayed before , maybe because of the long corridor that lead to it (which they calculate as part of the space.

Ops, sorry , cabin photos later , missing them in the email for some reason.

First disappointment, no walk in closet as we really love in the JS , yes there is one big closet and another smaller one on the opposite but they are not as big as the walk in and its not that easy to put the suitcase inside. Not sure who design the cabins , but comparing to other ships they have less space to store things. beside the cabin you have only two big drawers and that is it (well if you are not counting the sofa and the desk which I tend to use as another storage place.
Here are pictures of the room , do not get me wrong I still love it as the balcony have very nice view almost not interrupted .

A word for @Lovetocruise2002 I know you book same cabin for your next group cruise , if it is for just two of you its should be OK not sure about 4, also , you can feel the ship quite well , but that maybe due to the storm we were riding into (or next to). another strange issue with the room is lack of latches to the closet door , so when you have rough sea they keep open, we woke during the night and had to fix it with chairs and magnets. 
Anyway here are some pictures of another JS cabin  , balcony cabin and a gran suite.

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Grand suite 

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Balcony 

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Our next station was the silver dining room , its on floor 14 forward and during lunch and breakfast its a buffet, I found it very nice not to face all the crowds, we also booked dinner there.
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When we went out from the dining room we so something I could not skip , they were offering drinking package that cost 49 for first person and 50% of for second , so total with 18% it was 600 for both of us , although did not plan for I jumped on the offer.

Well that is for now , I already got complained that I prevent from people to sleep 🙂 

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5 minutes ago, twangster said:

It would be interesting  to know where your internet is based for a ship based in China.

When not on VPN if you go to ipchcken.com does it display your IP address?

I think its connected to some far east server , but not sure.  

Just to let you know , the blog was available from China while google much less ...

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4 minutes ago, Traveler said:

I think its connected to some far east server , but not sure.  

Just to let you know , the blog was available from China while google much less ...

And in whats is my ip it shows Mount Airy , MD US Americom inc

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4 minutes ago, Traveler said:

And in whats is my ip it shows Mount Airy , MD US Americom inc

Same parent company as O3b and Speedcast.   I was wondering if Royal is required to apply any filters required in China.  Any issues with any other social media sites?

When I was in Hawaii last week we still routed through Miami. 

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4 hours ago, Traveler said:

A word for @Lovetocruise2002 I know you book same cabin for your next group cruise , if it is for just two of you its should be OK not sure about 4

Yes, just the two of us.  It's a spa junior suite right?  That's what we booked.  Any chance you could get photo of the balcony?

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6 hours ago, twangster said:

Same parent company as O3b and Speedcast.   I was wondering if Royal is required to apply any filters required in China.  Any issues with any other social media sites?

When I was in Hawaii last week we still routed through Miami. 

I do not think its China filter issue , when I was China I had issues with Google and FB while connecting to the hotel WIFI and other WIF but not when connected to the cellphone , currently the only problematic site is the blog site as if its in some black list. not sure why 

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2 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Yes, just the two of us.  It's a spa junior suite right?  That's what we booked.  Any chance you could get photo of the balcony?

Here its called silver suite JS with large balcony . but name will be change as also the function of Silver/gold suites area/dining facilities 

And here are the cabin pictures :

The long corridor from the door to the cabin 

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Bathroom  :

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The room with the two big closets :

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And the Balcony :

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Day 1 - Continue while I have connection .

After checking the silver dining room  we went to check the other side of the ship  to see if we were missing anything in the WJ  . 

We passed the Solarium , in this ship you have two , one for the suites/diamonds , it can be access  by using the sea pass card and one for everyone , its a big cover pool and lounge chairs around it , well like a solarium..

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The "pool"

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The second covered pool area :

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The open pool : 

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After the second cover pool area you have an open pool area and finally the most hectic place in the ship the WJ, it was packed as expected but RC trying to control it by adding assigned lane for each busy station , for example you have a lane to form a queue for the carving station , I did not notice a real issues , everyone were queuing , the only issue was that although the WJ is huge I did not saw too many empty seats , well first day after all. could not take too many picture but here is a very nice cake for the 70 China celebrations :

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Sorento pizza is located adjust to the WJ , its the only place open later (until 3 am everyday) , believe me I check it (Only fro the research) , the Pizza are from the new better kind (the one that use cheese) 

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We went to enjoy our new UDP at the pool bar , we were the only people there beside the bartender that was happy to talk to someone , so we started with the first lava flow.

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The rooms were ready by now so we went back and collect our suitcases from the corridor , they arrived very fast , the muster drill was in the 270 which I love , it was quick and contained the "James Bond" movie , please RC , even airline companies update their safety movie from time to time ...

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Anyway it seem the Spy lady learn to speak Mandarin. post the muster drill we went to drink some coffee and tea in the tea house just to wait few minutes until elevators will still be available. We went up again and enjoyed the Chinese parade which was showed on the big screen pool.

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Our dinner was at the Silver dining room , they offer buffet style for the starters / dessert  and a fix menu for the main dish , this menu is not changing for the full week , remind you something ? yes , this is actually the solarium bistro on other ship ...

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"Diamond Lounge" small plates.

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I also found the menu of the Golden dinning room , this menu is changing every day and its without buffet , yap , this is the CK on other ships. 20191001_184248-756x1008.thumb.jpg.535b409d69404de1b0530992a94b18e7.jpg

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I think that what will happen when such ship will be outside Asia is very simple , the Silver dining room will become solarium  bistro , the silver lounge will become the diamond lounge (already now diamond are welcome to this lounge and happy hour is served there) and the Golden dining room will be the Coastal kitchen .

We went back to the room , at that time we already were very near Miatag , the mighty Typhoon -" it was very rough - The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli." , Finally I can use this quote 😁

Lets said its the first cruise I actually took a sea sick pill just to be on the safe side. 

I went to check the balcony , got a free quick shower and we are on deck 13 ... 

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It was quite hard to stand or to walk , but I can tell you that when we went down to deck 3 , it was much more stable.

Anyway we are after the storm . 

 

 

 

The most important bar

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We went back to the room , at that time we already were very near Miatag , the mighty Typhoon -" it was very rough - The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli." , Finally I can use this quote 😁

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Day 2 Sea day, 

After a rough night thing became better as we run away from the typhoon, still we had hard time to woke up so we gave up breakfast and jump to a late breakfast at the Silver dining room , food was good , drinking service less ( took them 15 minutes to bring a soda , oh well lesson learn they do not have any bar around at noon time.

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We had reservation for Ifly but when we can they have told is it's closed due to the movement and we should come back tommorow to reschedule. Ok well that can happen. We did some ship tour

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The ship have not heard about the no smoking roles

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and one hour later we came near by the Ifly again just to see that it's open and people are already there so we asked regarding our reservation , they told us to come back in 15 minutes and they will let us in , as always it's good thing to verify. We had our session and I loved it felt like I got an adrenaline rush. One word of advise , if you try it and you have a lot by hair you better tie it up before if you do not want to deal with messing it up and brush it for an hour, Ask my spouse.  After the Ifly we went to the Casino , if you like slot machine this ship is not for you as it as very limited slot verity. As it was official night we went back to take a shower and put our "official" night outfits. For dinner we chose the MDR , it was a nice choice , they had the regular menu   plus the special one , but that also contains many western option. 

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I took the French onion soup the duck salad and the lamb. My spouse took the Chinese noodles all was good .

After dinner we went to see the show girls show , I think RC done a very good job here

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Day 3 - Osaka (taking advantage that I have cellular internet that not blocking this site like Royal WIFI).

Today we arrived our first Japanese port , time of arrival 1:30 PM , yes late but we are at port until 3am the day after ! We slept late again but around 11 am we went to the C&A party. There were around 20-30 people in the 270 were it took place. The Captain gave some information and talk about the Typhoon we passed explaining that we had to go out from port as the Chinese would not let us stay extra time. No C&A numbers were shared but for the first time the top cruiser is from China , the captain by the way is , surprise, from Norway.

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There was a nice 270 screen Robot , follow some classic guitar player.  

After this show we went to eat late breakfast at the Silver dining room . We had 1 PM shore excursion so we rushed to get ready , it's the first Japanese port day so there a long imigration process. Elevators were busy so we had to wait quite a while to got on one , our meeting place was on the other side of the ship in the music hall. We arrived at 1:03 PM got our stickers and looked around , no one else with the same number , Mmm something is wrong. Asked the excursion lady what happened she said they already went down but they are still waiting for 5 more people and some one will escort us out and do not worry they are waiting for us. Asked her if it's not better that we will do our way now to the gangway so we can catch them , oh no do not worry. Now at this point I would accept that we came 3 minutes late and or we missed it and we will catch them at immigration or it would cancel, pissed , yes but hey it's our responsibility. After 15 minutes asked her again , answer was the same . Only after 30 minutes we were escorted with another group of the ship. Again asked if they are waiting , got answered that yes , sound strange to me that the groups should wait so long , it's not making any sense. We went true with imigration and custom went out to see all the excursions numbers signs beside one number , ours. Asked the excursion officers what's going on , she checked and said they went a way and she will check if they can catch them , well no. She told us we can join another tour and she will refund us the difference. The tour she offered us was basically a transport to the main  shopping street with free time. Here i started to be annoyed as if they would not told us to wait we would catch time without any issue , hey they would not even had to wait. At this point I felt that from our issue (being 3 minutes late ) it became RCL issue as something went really wrong with the process and they gave us the wrong information. I explained the officer that we came to Japan to see Japan not for shopping and why we have told to wait and not to worry, she offered us 20% off which and told nothing can be done and she do not know who told us to wait. Ok here I lost it , you see if someone from my team is messed up I will not come to my customer and explain him that it's there problem, I will take responsibility for their actions as I am there manager , I was responsible for their training and I am responsible for their actions. I guess that here was the time were I raised my voice at the shore excursion officer ( if it was one of the workers I would avoid o guess). She tried to tell me that we were more than 3 minutes late , I told her that is not true and she want we can check the exact time I was signed in to the WIFI routers in the music all (I am sure RCL IT not really keeping the router  logs  , but was sure she did knew it , but really it was 3 minutes) At that point she did some calls and what do you know found a solution. We were escorted to the taxi stand  and drove to meet the group at the first point which was some temple. We have rushed with a private guide to the temple and catch up the bus. Lesson learn, come 15 minutes before the indicate  time, not to trust RC representative, never give up. Again please do not get me wrong , I do not think anyone should have waited for us but they should give the right information and not stuck us waiting at the meeting point saying "do not worry"

The temple was small but nice

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, out next stop was the Osaka castle . It is a huge area of that contains gurdenes , park and the castle which also serve as a museum and a observation (at it's 8th floor). It was very rainy do we focused on the inside.

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The old gate

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The moat 

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New times new signs 

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The castle

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The small museum

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Osaka landscape from the tower

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The visit was around two hours before we went back to the ship we were we first went to buy some shampoo in the adjust shopping mall to resolve the IFly hair incident from yesterday. Adjust to the docking place you also have a huge big wheel, will come to that later , as you know a big wheel that appears at the first act will return before the end 😉

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Just now, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Curious...is that the cruise director in the blue shirt in the first few pics? And does he speak Mandarin or are they using predominantly English?

Yes it's the cruise director.

He is 20 years with Royal , he speak English and Mandarin. All messages are in English follow by Mandarin or the opposite. So everything the Captain said he translated as the captain only know to say thank you and hello in Mandarin. All the rest of activities are the same just takes longer. Waiting to see the Love and marriage and the quest , wonder how it will be (it appears in the weekly schedule)

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Interesting experience with being 3 minutes late.  I do a fair number of Royal excursions and it has always seemed to me they never have intentions of departing sharp at the meeting time and I routinely see people arriving 10-15 minutes late.  No problem, we never leave at the meeting time.  
 

During my Hawaii cruise I did see them leaving closer to the stated meeting time but never sharp at that exact time. 
 

Glad they tried (eventually) to make it right.  
 

What language did the excursion operate with?

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3 hours ago, twangster said:

Interesting experience with being 3 minutes late.  I do a fair number of Royal excursions and it has always seemed to me they never have intentions of departing sharp at the meeting time and I routinely see people arriving 10-15 minutes late.  No problem, we never leave at the meeting time.  
 

During my Hawaii cruise I did see them leaving closer to the stated meeting time but never sharp at that exact time. 
 

Glad they tried (eventually) to make it right.  
 

What language did the excursion operate with?

Yes , you are right , also from our previous experience we always wait at the meeting point for at least 15 minutes. I guess due to the fact it's the first point of entrance to Japan and the fact that everyone need to do it (until everyone is not processed no one allow back to the ship) they want to rush everyone out ASAP. 

Anyway the tour is in smiling English , they start in English and when they forget a word they just smile, worked for us. 

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Day 3 , still Osaka 

Today we are in port until 3:30 am so it's almost over night stay. We were back to the ship at 7:30 pm and went to eat dinner in the WJ for the first time as it was empty now . We took some noodles from the noodles station and some other Chinese food with some western add on. I must say , if I was from China I might complain about too many western options 

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🙂 And here is the finished product

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Post dinner we went again to the port to take the big wheel. I had to convince my spouse to go up since she don't a fan of high places (unless she is just looking on it) , it took me some time but at the end she agreed not before she was saying that I am "selling" her for the blog . As if the only reason I wanted to take the ride is for the ship areal photo . Me no how can you think such thing. 

Here are some picture during the way up. We had private cabin which was nice .

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And here is the Osaka city , although the smoke in port of Spectrum was very visible.

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I heard they are planning to move her to smoke electronic cigarette but with the last incidents they keep her on regular one 

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After we we went down from the wheel we went straight to the ship as it was time for Let it be AC/DC in the music hall. They are good , they were even better after finally we have done good use to the UDP. The only small issue was the small audience. Maybe due the fact that many still touring the city or it was not really to the taste of the Chinese audience.  We were something like 14 people , at one time of the show the lead guitar went down  and shake everyone hands saying "thank you for coming" Anyway it was allot of fun .

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Immediately after this show the silent party started , which we had already enough alcohol to want and participate . No photos here , I run out of battery (good excuses) but as we were part of the entertainment I am sure you can find me as a star of some viral movies in the Chinese Facebook 😂, if not I am sure my spouse will gladly post the movie she took as a revange for the big wheel. After the party and countless Chinese Red bulls we went to the next obvious station , Sorento , jus to see that what we all were hoping for happened , beside the Pizza they had also a section open in the WJ buffet adjust to the Sorento , it had sandwiches , salads and some noodles, whatever needed for post Alchool night. End of day 3 (well sort of).

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I went to check about the internet yesterday , (beside the Voom is 600 KB for download) to understand why the blog site is blocked . The WIFI expert tried it from her phone and got same result but when she tried from the laptop it worked which mean it's not blocked in the cooperate level bus some were in some " nerd talk warning" ACL in the router/FW/Proxy between the guest WIFI and the ship internet connection, I asked her if she can run some traceroutes for me , she looked very confused and told me she will call IT tommorow. I understood asking for TCP dumps on their router  will be too much. 

Anyway I will check it again later on today but it's very annoying not be able to update when I want and we have tow more sea days ahead of us.

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